Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp

Bergen, Germany

Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in what is today Lower Saxony in northern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle. Originally established as a prisoner of war camp, in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. Initially this was an 'exchange camp', where Jewish hostages were held with the intention of exchanging them for German prisoners of war held overseas. The camp was later expanded to accommodate Jews from other concentration camps.

After 1945 the name was applied to the displaced persons camp established nearby, but it is most commonly associated with the concentration camp. From 1941 to 1945, almost 20,000 Soviet prisoners of war and a further 50,000 inmates died there. Overcrowding, lack of food and poor sanitary conditions caused outbreaks of typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and dysentery, leading to the deaths of more than 35,000 people in the first few months of 1945, shortly before and after the liberation.

The camp was liberated on April 15, 1945, by the British 11th Armoured Division. The soldiers discovered approximately 60,000 prisoners inside, most of them half-starved and seriously ill, and another 13,000 corpses lying around the camp unburied. The horrors of the camp, documented on film and in pictures, made the name 'Belsen' emblematic of Nazi crimes in general for public opinion in many countries in the immediate post-1945 period. Today, there is a memorial with an exhibition hall at the site.

Among those who never left Bergen-Belsen were Margot and Anne Frank, who died there in February or March 1945.

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Details

Founded: 1935
Category:
Historical period: Nazi Germany (Germany)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Marco Muia (2 years ago)
Very sad place but also interesting
Anthony Lawton (2 years ago)
A powerful emotional experience. Important to remember
Andrew Walker (2 years ago)
What a heart wrenching place to see. Interviews from ex prisoners and pictorial memories. Harrowing. Could do with better signage outside.
Olivia Epps (2 years ago)
Beautifully designed memorial, excellent material in both German and English. Highly recommend for those who want to learn more and honor those who died at Bergen-Belsen.
Rick Huizingh (3 years ago)
Very impressive. A lot of symbolism and a large museum. Freely accessible. Cafeteria only takes cash, no cards. Clean environment, friendly and helpful staff. I recommend this place for everyone. These events mustn't be forgotten.
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